Walter Hayes is a good school. In California. You have teachers here who are well compensated and very accomplished. In my opinion, that doesn't exactly translate to being awesome. We went to this school from 1st grade to 5th grade. I have family in public schools in Texas that frankly put this school district in the average rating. But in California, where public schools are not super well funded, Palo Alto is considered one of the best. The dollars per student are quire high considering all the private funds that flow into the school. The hype around the district is that you are in a very high per capita income neighborhood and of course this attracts super professional track educators. There are a lot of well educated and successful people who live in the district. Sounds like a perfect world, but in our experience, the results and the experience was good to average. We came from a private school and in retrospect we wish we had stayed in private schools. But you are talking minimum 25k a year for private elementary schools here, so you are talking like 150k or more for your kid's K-5th. Sometimes I felt that the administrators and teachers get a bit of an ego boost because they work for such a prestigious district, I know that several teachers approach or exceed 100k a year in income (happy for them, but sometimes there is just a bit of a snobbish or stand-offish vibe). In this community the first thing anyone asks you is where you work. Not what your kids are into, not where are you from, just straight up, where or what do you do for a living? It's an awkward part of living in Palo Alto for me, where so much emphasis is put on your employment vs who you are. There _are_ some amazing educators and some really good people here, but in all reality, compared to a school district like Cinco Ranch in Katy, TX (with brand new buildings and stellar national ratings) PAUSD is just good. And if Walter Hays was without all the private funding and very well to do and educated parents from tech companies, the super old buildings and average to good performance would be just any other average school in the US.
Walter Hays is a wonderful public school with excellent teachers. The curriculum is broad and well-balanced, integrating visual literacy, music and performance in teaching basic academic subjects. The facility is charming. The principal leads well and openly. This all became especially clear to us when we moved to Illinois, to a city known for its 'top schools' that in no way compare to Walter Hays.
This is a very good school, with very high academic expectations and achievement. The parent community is extremely involved. The teaching is creative and rich for the most part, with a lot of very good teachers. There is a fair amount of art, outside science classes, drama and music although most of these programs are slowly shrinking because of diminishing funds.
This school has very high parent participation in terms of time and financial support. As a result, this school has been able to finance additional classroom aides. The kids seems to benefit from the extra help and score well in state-wide standards tests. On the flipside, some may view that the school is unduly influenced by a small, core group of parents, making it difficult for other parents to become involved in the decision making process.